What is a Neighbourhood Plan and why should we have one?
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to inform where new homes, shops and offices could be built and when. The community is able to have their say on what new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right type of development for their community.
When will the plan be in place?
The whole process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan typically takes two years. The Plan is built upon feedback from the community to ensure that it reflects the views, as far as possible, of those affected by it. The Plan has to be in conformity with national planning guidance and the strategic policies of Horsham District Council. In due course, an Independent Examiner will examine the Plan to check it has fully met these requirements before recommending whether the Plan can proceed to Referendum.
Does this mean more development?
A new standard approach to calculating housing need has been proposed by Government. If implemented, this approach will set out housing requirements for Local Authorities and, in turn, those preparing Neighbourhood Plans. This could have implications for the number of houses that need to be planned for within the emerging Cowfold Neighbourhood Plan.
How does the Neighbourhood Plan make a difference?
We are currently in the process of trying to convert all the feedback received, as summarised in our Vision and Objectives. This will help to inform the policies of the Cowfold Neighbourhood Plan. Our policies cannot require external bodies, such as the County or District Councils, to carry out our aspirations for matters that fall under statutory operation (i.e. road calming). In such cases, we can include Aims in the Plan which set out the Parish Council’s support for local initiatives.
What happened after the Call for Sites?
The Cowfold Neighbourhood Plan Working Group published its Call for Sites in November 2017. We have been made aware of 11 sites which could accommodate development. We will now follow the agreed Site Appraisal Process to assess these. This will allow us to ascertain which sites are the most suitable to meet the defined need of the Parish. There will be a public exhibition of this information, detailing each one of the sites put forward by Landowners or their Agents. This will take place on Friday March 23 2018 in the Village Hall between 12:00 and 20:00 so as to, hopefully, give everyone the chance to come and see the information and give us their feedback.
Cowfold is a vibrant Community with a great sense of identity; it is very important that we do our utmost to protect this Community Spirit as we strive to meet the needs of the majority of residents within the framework of legislation.
Do come along at any time on Friday March 23 between Noon and 8pm and have your say.